Pegasus Scholarship Trust Exchange Program for Young Lawyers
The American Inns of Court is pleased to offer a valuable experience to talented young American lawyers. Through the Pegasus Scholarship Trust, two American Inns of Court members travel to London, England, for six weeks to study the English legal system from October 3 through November 12, 2021. All members admitted to the bar for at least two years, but not more than seven years, are encouraged to apply for this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
In 1987, The Right Honourable The Lord Goff of Chieveley formed the Pegasus Scholarship Trust to allow young English barristers to travel abroad and young lawyers from other countries to travel to England to learn about each others’ legal systems. “The Pegasus scholarship scheme makes it possible for gifted young lawyers—the future leaders of their profession—to learn about the practical working of the common law system in countries other than their own and to form enduring links with lawyers in those countries,” Lord Goff noted. In 1990, he traveled to the annual meeting of the American Inns of Court to announce that the trust would expand to include an exchange program with young members of the American Inns of Court. The first American scholars went to England in February 1991. Each year, two members of the American Inns of Court travel to England and young English barristers travel to America. Returning American scholars have described the program as “a priceless opportunity” and “a fascinating walk through the history of our legal system.”
The work of a Pegasus scholar is challenging, but rewarding. While details of the exchange program differ each year, the scholarship is designed to provide an intensive, six-week introduction to the English legal system.
Pegasus scholars spend the majority of their time in barristers’ chambers. Most of the time, the scholars observe trials or arguments in action. While a barrister may give the scholar an assignment or two, typically the scholar prepares for court appearances by reading the briefing done by solicitors.
Scholars quickly see that solicitors have done much of the trial preparation, including interviewing the witnesses and helping to draft court submissions. While the solicitors earn their keep in the office, the barristers’ office is the courtroom, and for lawyers used to the typical American courtroom, experiencing the difference is wonderful.
In addition to time spent with barristers, activities are arranged to help round out the scholars’ English experience. In the past, the trust has made arrangements for scholars to observe proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the Privy Counsel, the Old Bailey, the Royal Courts of Justice, and Magistrate’s Courts, followed by a discussion of the proceedings with the justice, judge or magistrate, as the case may be. Scholars have dined at the Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln’s Inn, and Gray’s Inn. They have observed classes at the School of Law. Scholars have toured courts in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and they have traveled to Cambridge and Oxford to meet with students and professors. Reports written by past scholars detailing their experiences while on scholarship are available on our website.
Scholar Duties and Responsibilities
Scholars serve as ambassadors of the American Inns of Court and the American legal profession. In that role, they must commit to full and active participation in both the work and the social activities associated with the scholarship, which takes place for six weeks in the spring.
Upon returning to the United States, scholars must submit a written report to the American Inns of Court detailing their experiences during the program.
Travel, Accommodations, and Stipend
The American Inns of Court provides lodging as well as a modest stipend sufficient for meals, flight, and public transportation. Typically, the scholars share a “flat” in London.
Pegasus scholars have a rare opportunity to live and work in dynamic London. They can walk down the rows of the Inner and Middle Temple, where Sir Edward Coke kept his chambers in 1572 and Sir William Blackstone kept his chambers in 1765. They can tour the Inner Temple Gardens, the origin of the War of the Roses in 1430, and dine in the Middle Temple Hall, where Shakespeare gave the first presentation of Twelfth Night in 1601.
Most evenings and weekends are free for scholars to do as they please. The scholars become student members of the Inner Temple and have access to the facilities there, including the student pub, a popular after-work meeting place. Scholars are encouraged to take advantage of the rich night life in London, including outings to the theater, symphony, and cinema. The opportunities for weekend activities are endless and may include museums, parks, or trips to the countryside. Scholars are reminded, however, that their primary duty is to their scholarship activities, and to plan any extracurricular activities so that they do not conflict.
The Application Process
A one-page application is provided at the end of this brochure. In addition, applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation, one of them prepared by a Master of the Bench at the applicant’s Inn. Applicants also are required to submit a résumé and a short narrative setting forth the reason they wish to participate in the program. Please refer to the checklist on the application to ensure that all necessary documents are submitted with the application. Each application is reviewed and, if necessary, applicants may be interviewed by a member of the selection committee. Applications must be received no later than January 4, 2021. Selections will be announced in early April 2021.
Still have questions? Watch this webinar featuring two recent Pegasus Scholars answering questions about the application process and the scholarship itself. Watch these videos from former Pegasus scholars, which highlight the benefits and value of the scholarship and provide a sole practitioner perspective.